My challenge with practising self care

A week ago I went to the doctor. I have been feeling quite on edge for a while now and at first I brushed it off. I told myself not to be such a whimp and just keep going. A couple of weeks ago I hit a wall and I felt like I couldn’t even do the simplest of tasks. I either slept too little or too long, I had no appetite or I’d eat everything in sight, I had heart palpitations and my body developed small aches that I couldn’t quite explain. I also felt like I completely lost my grounding. So I mustered up the courage to go see my doctor and talk about my issue with stress.

My mom always called me a lazy person by nature and I’ve always hated it. So whenever I take time off I feel guilty. Guilty for not using my time better. My daily life consists of this ”rise and grind” attitude, yet this time it has finally bit me in the ass. My doctor told me to make spare time activities a priority, because ever since I started this course I’m currently doing at school, I’ve had to cancel them. There are just not enough hours in a day for me to be active, go to school, make homework, cook food, clean up while trying to maintain a somewhat existent social life. She told me to prioritise the things that bring me joy and give me energy.

So I’ve started to reflect a little.. How would I make this work? What can I do to take this stress away? I recently re-joined our local pole dancing studio here and I have been having a blast, but I feel guilty for not focusing on my homework instead. And as I’m writing this, at my favourite little café in town, I’m feeling guilty for not attending my pole dancing class.

The thing is, being so hyper-focused on being productive, I have lost myself in the process. And I have made the decision to cut down on some things that are incredibly time consuming, just so that I can have my hour or something a day that is not school focused. And I can already feel a huge difference.

I think this obsession with productivity nowadays makes a lot of people unhappy. I’m not telling you to be lazy, but I AM telling you to make time to practise self care. Be it taking a nice bath, eating that food you like, going to fitness or seeing a friend. We need to take care of ourselves first before we can thrive. And there will be guilt. It won’t be easy when you’ve been grinding all your life. But it is good to take a step back and just breathe. So yeah, I may not be doing my homework every day, but I feel a whole lot less on edge. I don’t feel the urge to be perfect all the time.

Happiness is so important. We only have this one precious life, shouldn’t we aspire to live it to our fullest and be happy?

Do you practise self care? If you do, how do you like to do it?

I would love to hear about it!

– Naiyee

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Overcoming adversity

Today is the day before going on an adventure in another country, the lovely country that is Finland. Today is also the day where I had a very tough exam prep for history, which I’ll be having exams for very soon. And today was also the day where I saw my psychologist.

I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember now, and after having seen different therapists in the course of the past decade, I finally feel like the psychologist I’m seeing now really gets me. With the death of my mom, the big changes in my private life, exams coming up and changing schools, this past month or 2 have been difficult to get through. I’ve been doubting my judgement, consumed with self loathing and over all just very insecure about my schoolwork. Vet school is something I’ve wanted since I was little, and now that I’m actively working towards it, I find myself very discouraged at times, as if I’m not smart enough, or worthy of getting in.

My psychologist used the movie ”Inside Out” as a comparison of the different versions of myself living within this head of mine. She asked me to sit down on a chair and tab into the depressed and dark side of myself, and once I’d gotten there, I’d have to tell her how that version of myself made me feel. At first it felt very weird to me, to get to a dark place in my consciousness while I’m actually having an okay day. But then she made me sit on another chair, the more positive and empathetic part of me. She told me to drag myself out of that deep, dark place and find out what the empathetic version of me would tell my depressed version.

It was very hard for me to actually face myself, my depressed self, and tell myself good things about myself. I’ve been dragging myself down for so long, that it’s basically all I know. I’m not good at telling myself that I deserve to be happy, or that I’m worthy of having good things in my life. For some reason I always felt as if bad things were about to happen, and because of that, I convinced myself that getting excited about anything, would only result in disappointment, so it’d be better to just be miserable. My mom’s death is a prime example of that. Why bother getting married or having kids when she won’t be there to witness it all? All of my milestones would be pointless without her there.

But since seeing my therapist, I started realising how flawed that logic actually is. My mom might be gone, but I’m at the prime of my life. It’d be stupid to deny myself nice things just because she’s gone, or because I got told once by a bully that I’m disgusting and worthless. I’m slowly opening up to the things that I denied myself for a long time, and surprisingly enough, I start feeling things again, instead of running on autopilot. For the first time in years I chose myself over someone else, and to be quite frankly here, it’s hard. My depressed version still comes out often to tell me I’m selfish, and that my choices hurt other people. My psychologist told me to train my empathetic version to be stronger. To tell myself that it’s okay to choose yourself over others sometimes. So I guess that’s another part in my recovery process that I’ll have to work on.

It’s not easy doing this alone. But eventually I’ll get there. Babysteps.

 

  • Nen